How To Exercise Your Abs While Sitting

Busy schedules and family commitments can keep you from exercising. An important part of exercises is strengthening your abdominal and core muscles. This can improve your posture and protect your back from injury. But you may not always find the time to go to the gym. Instead, use times you’re sitting to work your abs. You can exercise your abs while sitting by doing targeted movements and using chair cardio.

Do modified ab crunches. Sit leaning slightly backward in a reclining bench or chair with your knees together and bent at a 90-degree angle. Interlace your fingers behind your head and tighten your abs. Lean slightly back so that you just graze the chair back. Making sure your core is engaged, hinge your chest forward. Return to the starting position. Perform 20 reps.

  • Add some difficulty by extending your arms fully above your head.
Bend to the side to target your obliques. Put one hand on the back of your head and extend the opposite arm out in front of you. Engage your core muscles and bend towards the side with the extended arm in a controlled manner. Squeeze through your obliques, or side ab muscles, to pull yourself back up to starting position. Start with 10 reps on each side and gradually build up to 25.

  • You may also want to start on a limited range of motion so that you can focus on the muscles along the elongated side of your body.
Perform Russian twists. Turn yourself sideways on your chair so that the back isn’t in your way. Engaging your abs and core, lean back as far as you can without losing control or arching your back. Keep your hands in front of your body and rotate your shoulders to the left. Then rotate them to the right for one rep total. Repeat for 10 reps or more if you are able.

Do a simple waist rotation. Even small movements can exercise your abs. Sit up straight in your chair and pull in your abs while engaging your other core muscles. Rotate at the waist to one side while maintaining a proper upright position. Hold for five seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Use caution with chairs that have wheels. Some chairs or sofas may have wheels that could send you flying across the room. Slow down your movements when performing your ab exercises on a chair with wheels. Keeping the chair from moving can engage your abs and core even more and prevent injury. Some other ways to keep the chair from moving include:

  • Partnering up with someone who can hold the chair
  • Placing the chair near a wall or something to grab on to in case you move
  • Locking the chair’s wheels
  • Placing a wedge around the wheels to keep them from moving

Swim for a six-pack. Tighten and pull your abs towards your back to engage your core muscles. Then, gently tilt back from the waist with your legs over the side of the seat. Flutter kick your legs quickly for 30-50 reps. This works your core and increases your endurance, which can help further define your abs.

Run with knee tucks. Sit up tall on the front half of your chair. Hold on to either side of your chair for added stability. Lean back slightly and engage your abs and core. Bring your right knee towards your chest and then lower it as you raise your left knee up. Start with 5 reps per leg and build up gradually as your abs get stronger.

  • Alternate your legs as quickly as you can, which can challenge your abs more and build cardiovascular strength.


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